In the first half, Seth Shostak talked about his continued work as a senior astronomer at SETI. The organization's purpose is to apply scientific rigor to the investigation of the question of extraterrestrial intelligence. Recently, Shostak related, SETI has gotten access to the world's premiere radio telescope, which incorporates 27 high-powered antennae located in the New Mexico desert. Users will soon be able to do searches for signs of life in the galaxy using part of this array, he said.
Shostak also discussed one of his opinions that sets him apart from many of his fellow ET researchers: that while it's probable that intelligent life exists outside of Earth, it's unlikely that we've ever been visited by alien beings. He offered several arguments for his position, including his observation that there simply hasn't been solid, verifiable evidence for alien encounters. He dismissed recent UAP video footage by the US Navy that's cited as proof of ET visitation, saying that there are numerous explanations for what was seen that don't involve the paranormal or extraterrestrial.
Bill M., who holds the rank of magister in the Church of Satan, was the guest in the latter half. He was quick to distinguish Satanism from devil worship, which, he explained, has nothing to do with the tenets of his organization. Satanism—at least of the variety developed by Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, regards Satan as a fictional creation of traditional religion, and not a real being at all, Bill went on. Instead, the "empowering ideals" of Satanism are individualism, rational self-interest, carnality, nonconformity, atheism, humor, and science. Accordingly, Bill said, the adoption of Satan as a figurehead symbolizes the rejection of religious piety, and is not an endorsement of evil acts or an acknowledgment of any spiritual realm involving God, the Devil, and so on.
When a listener in California expressed his admiration for a follow-up to Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible, The Satanic Witch, Bill described the book as an extension of LaVey's philosophies as they apply to women. An Illinois caller reflected that although she was not formally a Satanist, she may be a follower of many of its tenets. It's normal, she pointed out, to hate our enemies and indulge in sexual desire. For a listener in Georgia, on the other hand, Bill is the enemy and someone devoted to the destruction of humankind. "Everything he [Bill] says could be a lie," the caller argued. "People need God, and God is my boss."
News segment guests: Lauren Weinstein / Steve Kates